Step One: Hide Bribes in Freezer. Step Two: … Step Three: Profit.

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These Democrats are making it really really hard for me to shill for them.

Eight months after stripping Rep. William J. Jefferson of his seat on the Ways and Means Committee, Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to award the lawmaker with a spot on the Homeland Security panel.

The move, confirmed by a top Democratic leadership aide and expected to take place Friday, is aimed at giving Jefferson, D-La., a greater opportunity to help the people in his district, particularly those still recovering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Jefferson, the subject of an ongoing federal bribery probe, surprised fellow lawmakers and political observers Dec. 9 when he won election to a ninth term in a close runoff race.

"He's been in limbo for a long time," the leadership aide said. "He's a member of Congress representing his constituents and is working on issues of concern to his district and the country."

In limbo, yes; he was too crooked for purgatory. Worth noting: There's not enough in Jefferson's freezer to pay his legal bills, if they're close to the bills Alan Mollohan is paying,

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  1. These Democrats are making it really really hard for me to shill for them.

    Did you type that with a straight face?

  2. Maybe he had the money for legitimate reasons.

    I am sure that Reasonwriters understand that contribution is a form of speech and having a politician take the money is a form of lissening.

    I haven’t read that Jefferson actually did anything in exchange for the money.

    Did you?

    No harm, no foul.

  3. Detective Williams: Well now Jeffrey, you found something which is very interesting to us. Very interesting. I know you must be curious to know more. But I’m afraid I’m gonna have to ask you now not only not to tell anyone about your find but also not to ask more about the case. One day, when it’s all sewed up, I’ll let you know all the details. Right now, though, I can’t.

    Jeffrey: I understand. I’m just real curious like you said.

    Detective Williams: I was the same way myself when I was your age. I guess that’s what got me into this business.

    Jeffrey: It must be great.

    Detective Williams: It’s horrible too.

  4. These Democrats are making it really really hard for me to shill for them.

    Now you know what its like for libertarians who sympathize with the republicans.

  5. “In limbo, yes; he was too crooked for purgatory.”

    You guys at *Reason* are among the most theologically-sophistaced atheists I’ve ever met!

  6. Dave – just so you know:

    “Rep. Jefferson Gets Seat on Homeland Security
    Rep. William Jefferson, the Louisiana Democrat who’s facing an ongoing federal corruption probe, is being granted a spot on the Homeland Security Committee, according to Democratic aides.

    The appointment will be announced Friday, according to one aide who requested anonymity because the decision isn’t yet official.”

    I give up.

  7. Nevermind. Wasn’t paying attention.

  8. You get caught with a few thousand in your freezer, those without sin you know. Perhaps the Republicans can get Duke Cunningham out of prison on a work release to serve in Conress to go with Jefferson. Basically once these guys have seen the fleshpots of Washington they are no good for anything. Of course they are giving him his spot. How can they not? Who knows what he knows and who knows how much money is in Pelosi’s freezer. Good for you Dave for noticing this story.

  9. I can’t wait to hear what jos has to say about this matter. I’m sure there must be some good reason to put this crook Jefferson a seat on the Homeland Security panel.
    We here in North Carolina finally will get to put one of our biggest donk crooks from the state legislature in the big house for taking bribes from Quackapractors. WooHoo!

  10. Has Mr Jefferson been indicted?

  11. stop hitting that gnome with a stick.

  12. This must have been agreed to, in order to pacify the Congressional Black Caucus who have been staunchly standing by Jefferson.

    At this point, he has been re-elected after the freezer incident, and he hasn’t even been indicted yet — so I don’t think you can keep treating him as a pariah. Once an indictment comes down hopefully things will change but at this point, politically, you can’t giving a big “Fuck You” to a caucus that you will be relying on to get things done for nothing more than an ongoing investigation. It’s not like has hasn’t faced any consequences….just not the consequences that many of us would have preferred.

    I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I understand. DeLay didn’t step down from a his leadership post until after his indictment — and even then the GOP was screaming bloody murder about “partisan” prosecutors so it’s understandable that Donkeys are more of a wait and see approach than many of us would like with Jefferson

  13. I agree with Chicago Tom. Without an indictment, Pelosi would be denying him his assignments based on accusations.

    It sucks that the indictment hasn’t come down yet, because Pelosi is damned if she does, damned if she don’t right now.

  14. According to the wikipedia, it looks like the cash was intended to be transferred by Jefferson to a government official in an African nation. In other words, Jefferson was not going to keep the cash, but rather to bribe a foreign official in a foreign country with it. Relevant wp text:

    FBI investigation of bribery and fraud

    On 30 July 2005, Jefferson was videotaped by the FBI allegedly receiving $100,000 worth of 100 dollar bills in a leather briefcase at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Arlington, Virginia.[8] Jefferson told an investor, Lori Mody, who was wearing a wire, that he would need to give Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar $500,000 “as a motivating factor” to make sure they obtained contracts for iGate and Mody’s company in Nigeria.[9] A few days later, on 3 August 2005, FBI agents raided Jefferson’s home in Northeast Washington and, as noted in an 83-page affidavit filed to support a subsequent raid on his Congressional office, “found $90,000 of the cash in the freezer, in $10,000 increments wrapped in aluminum foil and stuffed inside frozen-food containers.” Serial numbers found on the currency in the freezer matched serial numbers of funds given by the FBI to their informant.

  15. According to the wikipedia, it looks like the cash was intended to be transferred by Jefferson to a government official in an African nation. In other words, Jefferson was not going to keep the cash, but rather to bribe a foreign official in a foreign country with it. Relevant wp text:

    Maybe it was all an elaborate 419 scam?? 🙂

  16. jon –
    was tom delay indicted for anything?
    Was Karl Rove indicted for anything?
    Has Libby been indicted for anything?

    Much bile has been spewed against all three for things they weren’t indicted for and none of them had money in their freezer. Hows about some consistency?

  17. and I shoudlnt’ have included Libby in the list as he has in fact been indicted

  18. Say isn’t bribing people (no matter where) illegal in America?

    Them Black Cacus guys are really smart. It is like a big neon sign: we are open for business.

    When the indictment comes down they can claim – how should we know? He has an honest face.

  19. Maybe it was all an elaborate 419 scam?? 🙂

    I don’t know. How common is it to bribe government officials in African countries? Would that be weird or implausible? Could that really be how business is done there? What was John saying about those without sin?

  20. Say isn’t bribing people (no matter where) illegal in America?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Corrupt_Practices_Act

    I guess it depends on how you feel about Congress passing business laws at the behest of the SEC. How do you feel about the FCA Law, M. Simon? Good law or bad law?

  21. Tom Delay was indicted, too.

  22. Why is an indictment necessary to deny him assignments in lucrative Committee positions? Are we saying that the line between ethical and unethical hinges on criminal laws (and prosecutorial discretion)?

    Congress isn’t a court. Ms. Pelosi doesn’t need to observe either the evidentiary or procedural rules of a court, and she shouldn’t. We have enough evidence to conclude that Rep. Jefferson was involved in unethical conduct to deny him this privelege. It’s absolutely irrelevent whether we have enough evidence to convict him of a crime or imprison him, as the state is not taking formal action against him.

  23. Tom Delay was indicted, too.

    Yeah and lost in seat as majority leader and is no longer in Congress. Further, I like Delay’s chances against a crackpot like Ronnie Earl better than I like Jefferson’s chances of getting out of this one.

  24. Chris S.: lucrative Committee positions

    If the Committee positions really are lucrative (as opposed to powerful), then maybe an indictment should be a prerequisite. If ya ain’t crooked, how you gonna make the job profitable?

  25. For example, the Cato Institute does not like the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/journal/cj3n3/cj3n3-9.pdf

    Their author Murray Weidenbaum characterizes it as a costly burden on American manufacturers. He notes that 30% of US companies doing foreign trade had lost business because of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

  26. I suppose the subtext for my comment is that anything powerful would also be lucrative for a man who stores 90k worth of bribes in his fridge.

    On the other hand, the lobbying circuit being what it is, powerful positions in Congress lead to big bucks once you hop from the Capitol to K street.

  27. Dave,

    I suppose some don’t mind the U.S. having a reputation abroad for bribing officials and flaunting foreign laws. One could also argue that promoting the rule of law in developing countries has economic benefits for the U.S. You might not buy any of this, but it’s not crazy to believe that U.S. foreign policy is a little bit more complicated than the promotion of short-term business interests.

  28. It sucks that the indictment hasn’t come down yet, because Pelosi is damned if she does, damned if she don’t right now.

    Because it would be unprecedented for a democrat to demand the removal of republican on charges of corruption…why would she do what a democrat would never do to a republican to a fellow democrat?

    Oh wait…

  29. “I don’t know. How common is it to bribe government officials in African countries? Would that be weird or implausible? Could that really be how business is done there? What was John saying about those without sin?”

    Who cares what John says about sin. If he broke the law arrest him, even if you have to send Bill Clinton to do. He’s a man who knows a thing or two about sin. As for whether its common to bribe officials in Africa, no one really knows. Its usually cheaper and more expedient just to put together a few thugs, kill the obstructing official and assume control of the licensing bureau, if not the whole country.

  30. I suppose some don’t mind the U.S. having a reputation abroad for bribing officials and flaunting foreign laws. One could also argue that promoting the rule of law in developing countries has economic benefits for the U.S. You might not buy any of this, but it’s not crazy to believe that U.S. foreign policy is a little bit more complicated than the promotion of short-term business interests.

    I LIKE the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. I would not at all see Jefferson indicted, tried and punished under this Act. I have always liked the Act I didn’t mind back when they nabbed Lucent.

    However, I think it is amazing that various Reasonwriters have been blogging about the “bribes in the freezer” for a year now, and yet they have never had occasion to mention that the bribes were intended for a foreign official in Africa. Cause readers like me end up being misled and believing that Jefferson was supposed to keep the money himself. I have to wonder if that is intended or sloppy.

  31. “I would not at all see Jefferson”

    should have been:

    — Now that I know the facts of the case better from wikipedia, I would like to see Jefferson–

    sed oppo of what I ment.

  32. Ok, I see what you’re saying. But are we 100% clear that Jefferson wasn’t supposed to skim a little money of the top? After all, 100K became 90K, or am I missing something? Anyway, my point is simply that Pelosi has more than enough to deny Rep. Jefferson Committe positions.

  33. Considering all of ‘culture of corruption ‘posturing by the dems before the nov. elections its hard to cut them any slack now. There are no innocent explanations for why anyone would have 90k in their freezer. None. A bum is a bum.

  34. gk-

    That’s why I find this so utterly despicable. Couldn’t they have at least put on a good show for a few months?

  35. Ok, I see what you’re saying. But are we 100% clear that Jefferson wasn’t supposed to skim a little money of the top? After all, 100K became 90K, or am I missing something?

    Maybe they forgot to check the fridge or behind the Breyer’s. Maybe the po po’s did the skimming.

    My point is that everytime one of these Jefferson threads come up, I always bitch about how the Reasonwriters assumed this was a bribe, without getting into why they assumed that. Here below the fold, I was repeatedly told that it had to be a bribe because it was in the freezer. Which is still ridiculous.

    Now we find out the truth and find out that that yeah, it was a bribe, but it was a bribe for a different person in a nation where bribery may be legal and/or countenanced. I think, deep down, we know why HnR has been coy about who the bribe was really for. What I am saying is that I don’t think they are as big of fans of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as I am.

  36. Haw Haw Hardy Haaw Haw. The idea that a sophisticated political operative like Pelosi “had” to appoint Jefferson is laughable. What, would he sue? Put up a jury of yellow-dog Democrats and let them decide if it helps or hurts the party to have BriberyMan appointed. An accusation only? Yes – but this is politics – “appearance of impropriety” and all that.

    What it really comes down to is the power elites doing whatever the F*** they want and the great unwashed had better just shut the F*** up. Pelosi, if for no reason other than as wife of a multi-millionaire, is not used to having to wait or not get what she wants – unlike, well, those of us in the great unwashed. The Dems, in their rage to not let the Repubs beat them, are morphing into a bitter little poseur of the worst of the Republican party. Aren’t we lucky.

  37. “Gee, technically it was not bribery, per se…more like a unauthorized ‘tip’.” Yeah. OK. Chisel that on your monument – moral highground and all that…..

  38. I didn’t think the dems meant what they said about ‘culture of corruption’ and all that rot. thats pretty much standard election bs, right? I’m just amazed some people can give the benefit of the doubt to someone with 90k in their freezer. Come on! Use your brain!

  39. No, the Dems didn’t mean for a second what they said before and immediately after the election regarding the “culture of corruption”. Didn’t stop certain people in these parts (if only they had they been around long enough to know better) from buying into it.

  40. Security risk due to history of allegedly taking bribes? Check. Actively undermining American foreign policy by favoring surrender in Iraq? Check. Result: Impeachment? Censure? Nope – a coveted spot on the House Homeland Security committee.

  41. According to the wikipedia, it looks like the cash was intended to be transferred by Jefferson to a government official in an African nation.

    Oh, hey, what a coinkidink, I just got one of those emails from an African Nation just today! You know, the one where they have large amounts of cash in an account which they will share a percentage of if you help them out… blah blah. I’m glad to see the transaction worked out for Mr. Jefferson.

  42. Oh, hey, what a coinkidink, I just got one of those emails from an African Nation just today! You know, the one where they have large amounts of cash in an account which they will share a percentage of if you help them out… blah blah. I’m glad to see the transaction worked out for Mr. Jefferson.

    This case is a little different. Jefferson met the representative of the US manufacturer at a swank hotel, and in the flesh. Jefferson told the manufacturer that he needed half a million dollars to give to the foreign official. The manufacturer apparently did not give him the whole half mill, but rather a $90,000 or $100,000 installment. Presumably the rest was to come later if the initial results were good.

    Your comment begs the question as to why the US manufacturer just didn’t approach the African official, with the half mill in hand, on their own behalf. I mean, would that have been less obvious, less susceptible of detection?

    Whatever was going on here, it was very different than the email scams that ppl see fit to invite you into.

    Security risk due to history of allegedly taking bribes? Check.

    Bribing foreign officials may be unethical. The Cato Institute article I linked above sort of equivocally hints that it may be unethical.

    But it is not a security risk. In fact, it is pretty much the exact opposite of a security risk. Would you rather have the important functionary in the dangerous African nation getting their technology from the Russkies or the inscrutable Chinese?

  43. I love having the Dems back in the majority. They know a thing or two about corruption. I think Murtha ought to be the head of the ethics sub committee.

  44. When your argument begins with “‘bribe’ is such an ugly word,” that means you don’t have an argument.

  45. When your argument begins with “‘bribe’ is such an ugly word,” that means you don’t have an argument.

    When you use quotation marks around a quotation nobody uttered it means you don’t have a point.

  46. It not appears the cops found some marijuana stems and seeds at that kid they shot in Houston house.

    Seeds and stems= SWAT Raid and bullet to the head.

    $90 grand in FBI bribe Cash in your freezer during raid= New appointment to Homeland Security Committee

    What a fucking country. If you didn’t know for sure you would almost swear we are being run by the same people that run the UN.

    Whats sad is that he was re-elected along with Nagin. So they get to reap what they have sewn for themselves in N.O.

  47. Chris S.,

    “Why is an indictment necessary to deny him assignments in lucrative Committee positions?”

    Imagine what would happen if having accusations leveled in enough newspapers was enough to force someone out of a seat. Hey, look, Fox News just picked up a story off Drudge, from a bunch of bloggers, saying Hllary Clinton had a guy whacked. Not a good precedent to set.

  48. That’s so funny I almost forgot to laff!

  49. Ok so no indictment has come yet. How about some explaining the frozen bribe cash at least? Hearsay is one thing but cold hard cash is solid proof to me.

    Also having accusations leveled by people of low character (informants) to obtain search warrants for no-knock raids is plenty enough to have your door kicked down in a Raid and justify shooting anyone in the house that dares react.

    So exactly what precedent is this setting anyway? Besides the usual one where laws broken by citizens are crimes and laws broken by politicians are just oversights and mistakes that are to complex for the average american to understand. If the FBI had bribed you and then come to your home and found their money in your freezer you would have gone straight to jail for indictment. No questions asked.

    This points to the corrupt ature of both sides as neither insists the party in question go away and resign. Its just deny it till the end of time and hope it goes away.

  50. “How about some explaining the frozen bribe cash at least?” It’s probably frozen bribe cash.

    “Hearsay is one thing but cold hard cash is solid proof to me.” If you make this a judgement call as to when accusations, absent an indictment, are credible enough, we just get he-said-she-said debates about how credible any given accusation is, and I don’t trust partisan politicians to act in good faith.

    “Also having accusations leveled by people of low character (informants) to obtain search warrants for no-knock raids is plenty enough to have your door kicked down in a Raid and justify shooting anyone in the house that dares react.” Yes, and that’s a problem. Relevence?

    “So exactly what precedent is this setting anyway?” Were he to be denied a seat, it would be setting the precedent that accusations by interested parties can be used to deny elected officials their seats, and to force legislative leaders to . I, for one, do not trust partisan politicians to act in good faith when leveling such accusations.

    “This points to the corrupt ature of both sides as neither insists the party in question go away and resign.” No, it points to the fact that the Democrats believe the appropriate moment for that actions in upon indictment.

  51. If the FBI had bribed you and then come to your home and found their money in your freezer you would have gone straight to jail for indictment.

    The FBI didn’t bribe Jefferson.

    Rather, the FBI gave Jefferson money to bribe somebody else in a far off land.

    The reason things are going so pokey is that people in glass houses are nervous about stones.

    This case could set a bad precedent for any US companies who work with US politicians to get the clout they need to get foreign contracts.

  52. Jefferson, Murtha and Marion Berry are peas in a pod, crooks everyone, and all reelected.

    The only ethical thing to do is vote against the incumbent, every time.

  53. Republicans and Democrats are both an odious bunch. The reason the politicians are there is to line their pockets, period, that’s it. The only way to stop them is to not allow them to entrench themselves. I am tilting at windmills here, of course I realize that.

  54. Republicans and Democrats are both an odious bunch.

    Would you have made this statement in 2002?

  55. Worth noting: There’s not enough in Jefferson’s freezer to pay his legal bills

    I dunno. How hard is it to plead entrapment these days? It seems pretty clear that the FBI agent was asking Jefferson to make the bribe in Africa. isn’t that entrapment.

    Case dismissed?

  56. I don’ trust politicians in general whats your point whether its a Dem against a Rep do you actually think they will out their own on their own if they can cover it up?

    Its everyone over complication of things that makes for impossible outcomes. Term limits to get rid of them is the only way to even have a 50% chance of getting things straight.

  57. “These Democrats are making it really really hard for me to shill for them.”

    Don’t quit now, you’re doing a fine job.

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